Sunday, 23 August 2015

Heavy rain in the early afternoon didn't deter the male Little Owl from sitting out in his nest tree. He does look a bit soggy.

If Cormorants stretch out their wings to dry them, why do they do it in the rain?

A Moorhen chick, perhaps feeling that it wasn't wet enough, was swimming around under one of the Italian Garden fountains.

A Great Crested Grebe from the middle of the Long Water was having a territorial fight with one of the grebes from just up the lake. Mate and chicks look on with interest.

These violent-looking fights never cause injury. They are wrestling matches in which one bird tries to tip the other one over and hold its head under water, forcing it to submit and retreat.

This Red Crested Pochard is a drake, but he is in eclipse and looks just like a female except for his red bill and eye.

(What did the duck say when she bought lipstick? 'Put it on my bill.')

The park was almost deserted during the rain, and a female Blackcap, usually a very shy bird, came out near the bridge and allowed herself to be photographed.

Then the sun came out, and brought a Reed Warbler out to the front of the reed bed.

Above it, this Coal Tit peeped shyly out of a cluster of oak leaves, and was very reluctant to come down and take food from the railings.

But on the other side of the Long Water, a Coal Tit came straight down to my hand. Perhaps it is the one from the Rima relief, which I used to feed but has moved away from there. Coal Tits and Blue Tits are more mobile than Great Tits, and fly all over the park with the foraging flocks of Long-Tailed Tits.

Again, there were a dozen Mistle Thrushes eating rowan berries in the trees on Buck Hill.


  1. Ralph - you know of course that a theory about Cormorants holding apart their wings to dry is to allow them to digest their food as it opens their rib cage. I was told this many many years ago by a well known Naturalist called, from what I can remember, Eric Hardy who led Birdwatching Groups for the Holiday Fellowship (now called HF Holidays). A great leader to have as he knew everything about nature.

    1. This seems to be a matter for debate, or even dispute. I simply don't know, and am expressing no opinion.